Are Nevada Records Public?
Nevada Records are open to the public. The Nevada Public Records Act preserves the public's right to make a request to any agency that either generated or received the record. It also defines official state records to include papers, unpublished books, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, video and audio files, and materials stored electronically. The custodian of the records may also provide electronic copies of the records if an electronic copy was received initially or already exists. However, not all state records are public records. Record custodians may deny any request to obtain any record that contains protected information. Examples of Nevada public records include:
- Nevada court records
- Nevada arrest records
- Nevada bankruptcy records
- Nevada sex offender information which is available to the public
- Records of inmates
- Criminal records
A Nevada public data search can be made through the state custodian of a particular record or through third-party websites that offer public data search services. To request a public data search through state custodians, record seekers can submit a public records act request to the record custodian. This may be done by completing a record request form that the custodian usually provides and submitting required documentation and fees.
Nevada Public Records Act
The Nevada Public Records Act permits members of the public to access, inspect, and copy public records to the extent permitted by law. The act was enacted as a means through which government transparency and democratic principles may be fostered in the state.
Who Can Access Nevada Public Records?
Nevada Revised Statutes 239.010(1) provides that any person may inspect or copy public records of government entities within business hours. No person can be prevented from accessing public records on the basis of their identity. The persons allowed to make requests include juridical persons such as partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. The right extends to both viewing and copying the records. However, some preconditions may be attached to obtaining the records. Depending on the agency, requesters may need to pay a fixed fee or make the request in a prescribed form.
There are a number of instances where accessing public records in Nevada can be very useful. For example, performing background checks for employment or tenancy screening. Although the general public can inspect and review public records, there are limitations on how public records can be used. These limitations are stated in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA primarily regulates how personal information collected from customer reporting agencies is collected and used. For instance, employers are required under the Act to obtain consent from prospective employees before they run a background checks on them for employment purposes.
What is Exempted Under the Nevada Public Record Law?
The Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 239 exempts some government records from public access. Record custodians have the right to deny any request to access a document that is confidential under law. If the record only contains some confidential information while some other parts of the records are publicly accessible, the protected parts may be redacted. Examples of records that are exempt in Nevada include:
- Confidential records of some individuals within the government. Records containing personal information of retired judges, justices, peace officers, and other judicial officers are not available to members of the public. Therefore, only qualified persons can obtain access to such records pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes 1A.110. Qualified persons who are allowed to access any of the aforementioned retired government personnel records include and are not limited to their spouse and a court administrator. In certain cases, the board of county commissioners, the city council, or the government personnel beneficiary may also be allowed access.
- Records of the status of juveniles as special immigrant children. Any information regarding the immigrant status of a child in proceedings by a court for a child to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a special immigrant juvenile status shall not be part of public records. Any record of the proceedings which is not made confidential by law shall be sealed by the court that determined the proceedings pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes 3.2203.
- Privileged information between clients and their lawyers. A client has the general privilege to not disclose any information shared with their lawyer. This privilege extends to information shared by the client's representative and to the lawyer's representative. Any information that falls within this class is confidential and is not available to other persons, even when it is contained in records maintained by a public body. Nevada Revised Statutes 49.095.
- Records of any peer support counseling session attended by a law enforcement official or public safety officer. The law enforcement or public safety officer and any counselor providing such services may refuse to disclose information concerning it. The only circumstances during which the condition may be waived include any explicit threat of suicide, any explicit threat of imminent and serious physical harm to any identifiable person, any information concerning the neglect of vulnerable persons, and admission of guilt for a crime. The information may also be disclosed if the confidentiality is waived by the law enforcement or public safety officer who participated in the session. Nevada Revised Statutes 49.293.
- Records concerning a child who committed certain acts involving alcohol and controlled substances. These records do not make up part of public records and are only available to qualified persons. These persons include the juvenile court, the child, the attorney of the child, the parents or guardians of the child, the district attorney, and any other person who needs to know about the child's treatment. Nevada Revised Statutes 62E.620.
- A juvenile justice agency may deny a request for juvenile records in some circumstances. Generally, the agency would consider if there is good cause to release the information and if it is in the child's best interest or if it would prejudice any proceedings the child is a party to. Any person, apart from the district attorney and a few exempt persons, who subsequently disclose information obtained from a juvenile justice agency shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Nevada Revised Statutes 62H.025.
- Records that have been sealed by a court. The proceedings concerning a record that has been sealed shall be treated as if it never occurred. A court may order the disclosure of sealed records in some instances. Also, a prosecutor may also potentially be able to obtain access to sealed records. However, records that have been sealed are not available to most members of the public. Nevada Revised Statutes 62H.170.
- Some personal information disclosed to the Secretary of State. Such information should not be part of Nevada public records and the Secretary of State and agents of the Secretary of State should deny any request to access such records. Nevada Revised Statutes 75A.150.
Note: Nevada Revised Statutes 239.010 contains records that are exempt from Nevada public records. More records may also be made exempt from public records in the state by law.
Although Nevada's vital records are open to the public, under NAC 440.650, certified copies of birth and death records can only be issued to applicants with a direct and tangible interest to the registrant. These include and are not limited to the registrant, their immediate family members, and a legal representative.
Where Can I Access Public Criminal Court Records in Nevada?
Public criminal court records in Nevada can be accessed by any member of the public. Interested parties may submit requests in person or by mail. Some records may also be accessed online through the Public Access Court Electronic Records (PACER) system, the Supreme Court of Nevada search portal, and county search portals. In-person and mail requests can be made to the courthouse that determined the case. Record seekers may need to fill the request form required by the custodian of the record at the courthouse. The request form usually includes the requester's name, contact information, information concerning the requested record, and the form the record should be made available. Records custodians may also require fees for providing copies of the records.
How Do I Find Public Records in Nevada?
Any person interested in inspecting or copying Nevada public records can do so by making a request for the record with the custodian of the records. Pursuant to the Nevada Public Records Act, the record should be made available when a request is made to inspect or copy the record. Any request to inspect the record should be in writing, should be concise, and should clearly describe the record the requester wishes to obtain. If the request is handwritten, the writing should be legible. Requesters can also provide unique information about the record that would help the custodian of the record find the record more easily. The Office of the Secretary of State provides a request form which can be used by any person to make a request. Requests for these records can be made by email or mail. The Office may also contact the requester if more information is required to find the record. Applications can be made at:
Public Information Officer
Nevada Secretary of State
101 North Carson Street, Suite 3
Carson City, NV 89701
As stated earlier, there are limitations on who can obtain certified vital records in Nevada. However, informational copies of vital records can be obtained and reviewed by the general public. To obtain Nevada birth and death vital records, record seekers can contact the Nevada Department of Health to set an appointment date. On the other hand, marriage and divorce records are held at the county level. The Recorder in the county where the marriage license was issued is the appropriate place to go for marriage records. Meanwhile, to access divorce records, contact the County Clerk in the county where the divorce was granted.
Some public records may also be accessible from third-party websites. These websites are not limited by geographic location and come with expansive search tools. Record seekers can use these sites to start a search for a specific record or multiple records. To use a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the document or person involved
Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party websites may vary.
How to Use Third-Party Sites to Find Public Records Nevada
Interested parties can use any popular search engine to find credible third-party websites that offer Nevada public records search services. After locating a website, a record seeker can fill out the search form provided on the website with the appropriate criteria. For public record searches, third-party websites typically require a registrant name and city or state of residence. Users can enter additional information related to the sought-after record to further narrow down the results if additional fields are provided.
State residents can report or file a customer complaint against fraudulent third-party websites to the State of Nevada Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection. To file a complaint call (702) 486-3132 or toll-free (888) 434-9989. For further information, visit the state Bureau of Consumer Protection website.
How Much Do Public Records Cost in Nevada?
The fees that would be applicable for a public-records request depend on the specific record that is requested. Nevada's Revised Statutes 239.052 allow public bodies providing public records to charge the actual cost of the records. The public body may only charge more than the actual cost if a specific statute or regulation requires the public body to charge more for making the record available. Also, the public body may not charge any fees if a statute or regulation requires the public body to make the record available for free. The cost of making copies of records is 50 cents for each record, while the cost for obtaining certified records is $32. A complete or partial fee waiver may be permitted in some circumstances.
How Do I Look Up Public Records in Nevada for Free?
Interested persons can look up public records in Nevada for free. However, not all records can be obtained for free. The cost of access largely depends on the particular record, the format the requester wishes to obtain, the custodian of the records, and how the requester chooses to make the record. That said, most agencies rarely charge a fee for merely inspecting a record physically at the location the record is maintained. Interested persons can get access to inspect Nevada court records at no cost. However, not all records can be inspected upon request. Some records have to be compiled or extracted, while some others need to have their confidential aspects redacted. Records that may be inspected by any person physically, at no cost, include court records, arrest records, sex offender information, and incident reports. Government entities that allow free inspection of records provide terminals or lobbies for individuals making requests to stay while their requests are being processed. Access to the records is usually during business hours. Additionally, the electronic versions of some records are available online, with some of them being free to access. Such records that can be accessed online include sex offender information and inmate rosters.
Free public records searches may also be performed through respective Nevada county clerk and county recorder offices. Some examples of these records include proof of marriage record, foreclosure records, and liens. To perform public record searches through a county recorder’s or clerk’s office, interested persons can visit the physical location of the office. Alternatively, some county recorders and clerks provide online record search portals on their websites record seekers can use to find public records. For instance, the Clark county clerk’s office maintains a marriage record search portal that can be used to find, review, and order marriage records they maintain. Clark county recorder’s office also maintains an online search portal record seekers can use to inspect and review public records in their custody.
Do I Need to State My Purpose When Requesting Public Records in Nevada?
The purpose of a request is not essential while making a request for public records in Nevada. Still, it is useful to state the purpose of the request in some circumstances. The purpose of a request may be helpful in some cases to give the custodian more information on how to find the record the requester wishes to obtain.
What Happens if I Am Refused a Public Records Request?
Any person who has their request to inspect or copy public records denied may appeal to a district court to access public records. Nevada Revised Statutes 239.011 allows public records requesters to apply to the district court where a public record is located if their request is denied, there is no response within a reasonable time, or if the fees charged are improper. The court may grant an order compelling the custodian of the records to make the specific record sought available. This is in conjunction with any other relief applicable under any statute, so the requester may also sue for damages.
Additionally, per NRS 239.0107, Nevada state government agencies are required to respond to public data search requests within five business days of receiving a request. After this time elapses, a record seeker may apply to the appropriate district court for a court order for the sought-after record.
How to Remove Names From Public Search Records?
The Nevada Revised Statutes allows a court to order the sealing of criminal records of some convicted persons. Certain conditions would have to be met, and the court would need to be convinced that the individual has been successfully rehabilitated. A record that is successfully sealed would be removed from the Nevada public records and would only be accessible to certain eligible persons. In other words, Sealed state public records are considered confidential records. Per Nevada Public Record Act, confidential records are inaccessible to the general public. The subject of records that have been sealed may also respond to questions about the sealed records as if it never happened. Only some offenses can be sealed. For instance, sexual offenses, child abuse offenses, and motor vehicle homicide offenses cannot be sealed.
Nevada Revised Statutes 179.245 contains the conditions necessary to seal criminal records for convictions. The period of time that should have passed to seal a conviction is as follows.
- Ten years after release from custody or completion of parole, if the conviction was for a category A felony.
- Five years after release from custody or completion of parole, if the conviction was for a category B, C, or D felony.
- Two years after release from custody or completion of parole, if the conviction was for a category E felony or a gross misdemeanor.
- One year after release from custody or completion of parole for any other misdemeanor.
- Seven years after release from custody or completion of parole for misdemeanors involving domestic violence.
The court may not seal the records if, within the period of waiting time, the individual was convicted for another crime that is not a minor traffic violation. Nevada Revised Statutes 179.255 also provides for sealing of records after dismissal or acquittal. Convictions that are set aside may also be sealed. A registrant who was denied a court order to seal their criminal records may appeal the court's decision to a Nevada superior court or court of appeal to have the judgment overturned.
What is the Best Public Records Search Database?
The best public records search database depends on the record that the requester wishes to obtain. There are different custodians for Nevada public records. Custodianship of public records in Nevada is the responsibility of many state government agencies. Some of these custodians also maintain online databases for members of the public to use in searching for public records. These databases are maintained in compliance with the state Public Record Act and allows users quick access to public records. The best database is usually the one maintained by the government entity that generates or receives the particular record being sought. The Records, Communication, and Compliance Division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety maintains a sex offender registry for Nevada. Users can search the registry either by the name of the sex offender, by a vehicle number, or by a geographical location. Any person may also sign up for the community notification system, which notifies individuals when particular sex offenders relocate to a community around them. The registry provides information on registered sex offenders such as their names, offenses, dates of conviction, ages, and photographs.
Counties within Nevada also provide services for a public records search. Interested persons can make Clark County public records search within the county with the Clark County Recorder. Requesters can contact the Clark County Recorder at:
Clark County Government Center
Clark County Recorder's Office
500 S. Grand Central Pkwy, 2nd Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89155-1510
Phone: (702) 455-4336
Washoe County also allows Washoe County public records search through the Public Records Division of the County Clerk's Office. There is a 50 cents charge for each copy and a $6 certification fee for each page. The requests can be made at:
Washoe County Clerk's Public Records Department
1001 E. 9th Street, Building A,
How Long Does It Take to Obtain a Nevada Public Record?
Nevada Revised Statutes 239 provides that public records requests must be processed within a reasonable time. If the requester wishes to only inspect the record and goes to the custodian's location physically, custodians must allow the requester to inspect the record within business hours. However, requests for copies of records should be made available within five business days if the requester desires a copy and is willing to pay the applicable fees. The custodian may require more time to make the public record available in some circumstances. This may occur:
- If confidential information needs to be redacted from the record
- If the record is stored at another location
- If the record needs to be extracted from a document.
Furthermore, when a public records act request is submitted and the custodian cannot grant access to requested records in a timely manner, they must notify the record seeker in writing. In the notice, record custodians are also required to include the date and time that the record seeker will be able to access public information maintained by them. All state custodians of public records are subject to this rule irrespective of whether it is a state or local agency.
Is Public Data Search Safe?
Public data search services offered by government and law enforcement agencies are generally safe. However, some risks come from third-party aggregate websites offering public record search services. These sites usually maintain ownership of their users' information. As such, they can use this information as they wish, including selling it to other organizations for a profit.
Furthermore, some third-party websites offering free public data searches use it to drive traffic to their website. Rather than providing a sought-after record for free, they usually provide limited information on the desired record and would request users pay a fee or subscription to access the full record.